Now, however, with time and hopefully added wisdom (and also a precipitous drop in the number of friends nearby) I have come to not only appreciate but really enjoy spending time with my family. I enjoy it enough that I will pack up my two children with all of their stuff all by myself so as to be ready the minute Brandon gets out of work so we can spend six hours driving down to see my family for two days before turning around and driving another 5 1/2 hours back up to Arlington to spend Monday recovering and nursing a sick child (somebody always gets sick on trips).
When I was a child I couldn't understand why we would go through such rigamarole and drive the incredibly impossible time of five whole hours just to see family for a few days. But now I understand.
Everyone had a wonderful time, and Kathleen adored her uncles Sam and Mike, and she used her last half hour of freedom to convince Mike to swing her in the swings one last time. She and cousin Nathan had so much fun hugging that they almost fell off a bridge into my parents' fish pond. Sophia enjoyed having a whole new house with staircases to explore. And I enjoyed spending time with my siblings, their spouses and children and my parents without any fights. For the entire weekend.